Owning a Motorcycle
Motorcycle Info

How Expensive Is Owning a Motorcycle?

Are motorcycles a good investment? It’s an interesting question with a nuanced answer. Owning a motorcycle has both pros and cons; unfortunately, many people are less familiar with them than they might be for something like a car or truck.

Today we’re going to explore what needs to be considered when weighing whether a motorcycle will be cost-effective for you. From there, making an informed decision will hopefully be much easier.

Are You Going to Need Another Vehicle?

The first thing to understand about motorcycles is they are somewhat niche vehicles. While great at what they can do, they also have weaknesses cars and trucks do not.

If you live somewhere where winters can get cold, motorcycles present some challenges. People can and do ride motorcycles in the winter, but it can be hard to do so safely, and it isn’t legal everywhere.

As may be obvious, things get more expensive if you’re going to need another vehicle, even if it’s only for part of the year. It may not be easy to avoid that purchase either; snowy or icy roads are tough to deal with on a motorcycle, and the cold can be far more biting than many want to deal with as they ride.

What’s important if you decide not to purchase a second vehicle is to stay safe. Never drive if there is a risk of losing control on the road, and always dress for the weather. Pay extra attention to your hands, as numbness could cause you to turn slower or with less accuracy.

Owning a Motorcycle Means Motorcycle Insurance

If you’re asking, “Is owning a motorcycle expensive?” then one place where you might worry is insurance. Many are under the impression motorcycle insurance tends to be expensive.

The reality doesn’t really reflect this, however. The cost of motorcycle insurance is comparable to that of a car. In fact, it is often cheaper. 

Just keep in mind that older motorcycles (25+ years) may require you to get vintage motorcycle insurance (also called classic motorcycle insurance). This type of insurance is calculated a bit differently but should not break the bank unless you have quite the expensive class bike, to begin with. 

You’ll Need the Proper Equipment

One expense newcomers to motorcycles need to remember is equipment. A car doesn’t require much beyond a license to drive. A motorcycle requires a durable jacket, helmet, and more.

The average cost of owning a motorcycle is often quoted as around $5000 to $10000, but that’s just the purchase of the vehicle. You can expect gear to cost another $1000 or more.

This gear is important. Protective pants, gloves, a jacket, and a helmet are all but essential. These things can turn what would have been a lethal accident into one you walk away from.

Once you buy gear, it should last a while. At the same time, it won’t last forever. You may need to swap out pieces of your kit every few years as it wears down (although many owners upgrade or otherwise swap sooner for fashion or fun anyway).

That Dragon, Maintenance

Maintenance is the bugbear of any vehicle ownership, with the average cost of motorcycle maintenance sitting at around $800 to $1,500 a year. This may sound high, but it is comparable to what one can expect from a car’s maintenance costs.

It’s worth noting that maintenance costs can vary quite a lot depending on several factors. For instance, newer vehicles tend to require less in terms of maintenance. There’s also how hard you ride your bike, with heavier use wearing down the machine faster.

As with any vehicle, maintenance will often be your highest yearly expense when it comes to owning a motorcycle. Emergency repairs can cost even more, although they can be difficult to predict when discussing the average experience. 

Maintenance costs are best reduced by careful driving and keeping up with repairs. Ignoring issues to save money is paradoxical; issues can often worsen into far more expensive ones down the line if ignored.

That Hero, Fuel Efficiency

Much of what has been discussed so far paints motorcycles as a middling choice in terms of cost. The vehicle themselves are somewhat affordable, with ongoing expenses somewhat comparable to cars and trucks.

Where motorcycles shine is fuel efficiency; it is one of the major pros of owning a motorcycle. The average motorcycle gets around 35-40 miles per gallon, far more than a car or truck. Quality, well-maintained bikes can go as high as 60 mpg or more.

The reason for these numbers is pretty simple. A motorcycle is easier for an engine to move than a car or truck (ignoring some nuance around aerodynamics and weight distribution anyway). In short, it takes more power (and thus more gas) to move more weight.

While motorcycles tend to have smaller tanks, most bikes can be relied upon to push upward of 100 miles on a tank without issue. Many can do 200 or more; the deciding factor is their fuel efficiency combined with the size of their tank.

Competitive With Cars and Trucks, Especially Where It’s Warm

In the end, owning a motorcycle has its own challenges but also many advantages. If you live where it’s often cold, its use may be too niche to justify the cost. Meanwhile, if you live where it can serve you year-round, it can be a fantastic choice of vehicle.

If you found this article helpful, we hope you will explore our blog for more financial advice. We discuss everything from insurance to bankruptcy. If there’s a financial niche you’re interested in, there’s an article discussing it!